1870s The Albany | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

1870s The Albany

1870s The Albany
Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Friday, January 1, 1875


I can see a square tower roughjy in the centre of the photo, and it looks about the right place for St John's. But the building in front of the tower doesn't look quite the right shape to be the cathedral.

Can you see what I mean? I'm not sure if the main section of the cathedral was re-modelled at some later date? Or the tower isn't the cathedral at all? Or the tower is the cathedral, but the rest of the building is hidden behind another building in the foreground? Or... ?

Any suggestions?

The side facing Garden Road was built much later than the Tower itself which I recall was built in 1847. There is a stone plaque on the side of the building facing Garden Road which was unveiled by the Duke of Edinburgh. The actual date is given and this would give an approximate date of the photo. From my ramblings of Hong Kong pre-1997, there is also a roadside marker on Batery Path/Garden Road with the  inscription SJC 1886 (I think). Cheers.

the cathedral's web site has an interesting article all about this, with the original foundation stone from 1847 a mystery:

"The original foundation stone was laid on 11th March 1847 but is nowhere to be found. On the west face of the tower, above the porch entrance there is a tile or stone bearing the initials VR of Queen Victoria and the year – 1847....

"On 16th November 1869, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh laid the Foundation Stone of the New Chancel, providing us with a Stone we can still admire today…some compensation for the missing mystery of 1847. Another important event was the Dedication of Bells at the Cathedral on 2nd January 1870."


Hmm, so the cathdral may have changed shape around this time. Still, I'm not sure the tower near the centre of this photo is the cathedral's. I think it belonged to another building in that area - but will have to keep an eye out for proof.

Moddsey, two weeks ago I noticed that stone marker for the first time, and took this photo. You've got a good memory - the date is 1886:

Marker stone for St John's Cathedral

Mr B, you won't be fooled. The government web site has a much larger version of the same photo, the tower is part of a house while the cathedral can just be glimpsed on the far right.

here's the bigger version: http://hkclweb.hkpl.gov.hk/hkclr2/object?svc=objrtv&src=CM&itemid=LS3%23...

Thanks 80skid, it's much easier to see on the big version of the photo. Even though it's not the Cathedral, the building with the tower is still an impressive structure. I wonder what it was?

Inded the high resolution picture is much better and gives a clearer perspective of the area. Thanks for clearing up the anomaly.

there's another photo taken from what it calls scandal point in 1870 (according to govt website), which is presumably around the same time.  This time the focus is of further down the hill towards Queens Road.

Interestingly, another photo (of the Mystery building on lower albert road) taken in 1963 seems to be shot from exactly the same spot, and shows the same scene a century later.

The towered building must have been replaced by the american consulate (after the war?)

So scandal point was in Hong Kong park - presumably before they widened cotton tree drive and stuffed in the fire station. Now you'd have Bank of China, Citibank in the way

1870: http://hkclweb.hkpl.gov.hk/hkclr2/object?svc=objrtv&src=CM&itemid=R2BAL%24RXB75P9QZ1&pid=1&mime=image/jpeg

1963: http://hkclweb.hkpl.gov.hk/hkclr2/object?svc=objrtv&src=CM&itemid=ULCPUTMKY@%241K155&pid=1&mime=image/jpeg


It looked as though the two HKPL photos might have been taken at the same time, and a run through the merge program proved it to be true:

1870s View of Victoria from Scandal Point

So, a good view of the city. There's a lot of detail in the left photo - it's worth clicking the image above and then using the zoom tool. Unfortunately the right photo isn't so clear. If anyone spots the third photo to the right, let me know and we'll merge that in too.

Also, some more information about Scandal Point here.

it's fantastic to be able to see so much detail - i spent ages looking.  is there a website with more of these, fascinating stuff!

With the zoom feature, it is possible to view significant landmarks of  the period, for example, the twin towers of the original Roman Catholic Church which was then located at the corner of Wellington and Pottinger Streets.

James, those photos came from the HK Public library website, described here. They have other detailed scans in their collection.